Most of you know that we had been to a 5 days of religious cum vacation trip in the October, 2010 from 06th to 10th. Just wanted to tell you a little about the trip.
Origin of the trip: I would like to tell how this trip originated. The actual plan, was that we were planning to visit Anu's native temple, Lord Laskhminarayana, in Paapakudi near Tirunelveli in Tamilnadu. It was a long pending trip as we should have visited immediately after our marriage. Anu used to tell me often to visit the temple. So after 5.5 years at last we planned to visit or rather the Lord allowed us to visit Him. No train tickets available even before 1.5 months as its the only train running in that route. So we just checked if we could go in flight and found 2 airports nearer to Tiruvnelveli - Madurai and Trivandrum. Once Trivandrum came into picture, we thought of Guruvayur as Anu had the Thulabaram in the Guruvayur Krishna temple pending since she was 3 years old. Thus, what ought to have been a weekend trip turned out to be a 5 day vacation for us :) And I need not tell that we had a great time all thru the trip except that Anu was not in good ' health.
A little detail on the places we covered.
Day 1 - 6th Oct: We started around 3.15am and reached Bangalore airport around 4.15am. Took few snaps and climbed the Kingfisher flight by 6.30 after completing all the formalities. This is the first time Anu's parents are travelling in a flight while my mom had been in flight earlier but its her first fligh with me. Sure they would have had great feelings. They provided breakfast - sambar idly and vadai..mmm it was yummy that time though a bit sweet. The view was secenic just before we landed at at Trivandrum airport but was a little disappointed to see the airport. Cab driver Arun was waiting outside for us.
Welcome to Trivandrum and it was raining and we were a little worried to see the rain. We then started to Tirunelveli and reached there in the afternoon and had lunch. The route was pathetic really that we could not commute faster. There was no rain fortunately. Then went to Paapakudi Lakshminarayana Temple and waited for the priest for sometime. Once he came and pooja was over we had the prasadam and started back to Trivandrum and stayed in Nadan Hotel that night.
Day 2 - 7th Oct: Nadan Hotel was good except that we dint have hot water in the morning for bathing but we managed with the cold water, otherwise it was pretty decent. Had breakfast and went to Sri Padmanabasami Temple. The moment we went, a person came with a basket and literally banged into Anu's hands telling that its for consecration(archanai). Likewise, another person came up with the ghee pots. After a few yards, one person was there asking for money for all those we have been forced to buy. Since it was the first time, we thought its their practice and got it. If we need to perform consecration we will get it and they should not be forcing people to buy those things. This was the first shock. Then came the next part for waiting in the queue to view The Lord. We waited in the queue for consecration for quite sometime before we discovered its not going to happen as we expected. Then we moved to the general queue except Anu as she had the archanai basket. Both the queues are separted by a rod and thats it. The moolavar is same as that of Sri Rangam temple near Trichy, Tamilnadu. This one had 3 doors where each part of The Lord could be seen - Head, Body and Leg. We could sneak a glimpse of it, note a glimpse only and not a good / full view of The Lord. We came out and waited for Anu. Looked at other areas of the temple and came out. Then we visited Aatukal Bhagavathy AmmanTemple. It seems this temple is called "Ladies' Sabarimalai". Spent sometime in the temple.
Our next destination was Alleppey boat house. Before that we went to a Kerala Saree shop Karalkada and got sarees for the ladies. Could not get dress for Aditi there. The shop was really good and took some snaps there.
After shopping, went to Veli Lake and spent sometime there taking few snaps.
Then had lunch on the way and reached Alleppey boat house in the evening. It was drizzling. All of us boarded the boat house and sat in the drawing room for sometime. The boat house contained a drawing/dinner room, 2 bed rooms with attached bath and a kitchen and a roof top space. The boat started moving. We were given tea for refreshing.
Then it started raining and so they had to park the boat over the nearby shore. We were enjoying the new experience of traveling and staying in a boat house in the backwaters. They were preparing dinner for us and we were watching a movie in DVD when suddenly there was few surprise guests flying inside the boat. Came to know it was bats and they came for the fruit which they kept inside. Immediately I locked the fruits inside one of the rooms and sat there. Once the dinner was ready, we asked them to serve inside the rooms as we don't want our guests to visit again. But believe me, the bats did not come when we were having our dinner as the boat guys had told. We felt strange really. And, come on, its time for us to have a good night's sleep in the boat house.
Day 3 - 8th Oct: In the morning woke up early and enjoyed the nature and the vast area covered with water. We had coffee and slowly we got ready while our breakfast was also getting ready. In the meanwhile, the boat house started its journey to show us the near by villages. We were enjoying the travel having our breakfast and watched other boat houses passing by. It was a 2 hours journey and we thoroughly enjoyed it. They dropped us in the boat house station and we started our journey to Guruvayur.
On the way, we went to Ambalapuzha Krishna Temple. There was a statue for an Elephant but you will mistake it for a real one. It was the one which served the temple and they raised a statue after it was dead. Took few snaps and moved on with our plan to visit Athirapalli falls. Though it took sometime to reach there, we went and had a view of the falls and returned. Reached Guruvayur and stayed in Bhasuri Inn. Had dinner in their restaurant and rested for the day.
Day 4 - 9th Oct: Woke up after we felt its fine to get out of bed and we did not rush up to Guruvayur Krisha Temple. Got ready, had coffee and went to temple. We had to wait in the queue for a little over 2 hours. One good thing here is that it was very well organized and we dint face what we experienced in Padmanabasami temple in Trivandrum. Had a good dharshan of The Lord. We then waited in the queue for thulabaram - where we can donate any item for the wieght of us. We did thulabaram for Anu (rice) and Aditi (banana). They dont allow you to take your camera inside and they have a good business in taking snaps of thulabaram and such things. We also took few snaps and gave our address and money. They were so prompt that we received it in a week's time along with the digital copy in a CD. We were impressed really.
Then we visited the nearby Mammiyoor Sri Mahadeva Temple.
We thought of visiting few places in Thrissur which in on the way to Kochi. We heard that the Marine Drive in Kochi will be too good and skipped Thrissur plan so that we can go there before evening. This stretch was the horrible one. For a mere 100 odd KM, we travelled for close to 5 hours. Thats it, Marine drive plans too collapsed. By the time we readched, it was closed. Fortunately the government boats are closed and we went for a 1 hour drive in a private boat. It was a wonderful trip. Wondered how it would have been if we had gone before dark. In the travel, they showed us: Bolgatti Palace/island, new port under construction, Chinese fishing net, place where the backwaters enters into the Arabian sea, rainbow bridge.
After a good ride, we visited Anu's chithappa place, spent sometime talking to them, had dinner and stayed in a hotel near Kochi Airport.
Day 5 - 10th Oct: The final day of our trip. We got ready and visited Kaaladi, brith place of Sri Adi Sankara. Then we came to Kochi airport. Settled the cab and started our journey back to Bangalore in GoAir flight. Reached Bangalore around 3.30 and had something to eat and reached home.
So what this trip had for us. Due to the bad roads, we could not make it to the destinations as we had expected and ended up visiting lesser places. This is just the only bad, I dont know if I should really call it bad as we dint feel that way all through the trip, part of the trip.
The driver Arun was very helpful all through the trip right from handling the luggages when we have to almost daily take it outside the cab and keep it again the next morning; taking us to places where we wanted; communicating us about the places we come across in a way we can understand in Malayalam and things like that. Though we could not cover the list of places we had on paper, whatever places we went to, we had a great time and loved it. So I would say, it was a great trip for us and this time with our family :)